Philosopher writes emotional torture report during military regime
Book by Luiz Roberto Salinas Fortes, a former USP professor who was expelled from the university by the Brazilian dictatorship in the 1970s, has an introduction by Marilena Chaui and a preface by Antonio Candido
During the Brazilian military-civilian dictatorship (1964-1985), the acts of speaking and silencing could sentence one or one’s comrades to life or death, both inside and outside the cells of the organs of repression. This is how philosopher, journalist and writer Luiz Roberto Salinas Fortes’s moving testimony begins in Silent Portrait, recently published by Unesp Publishing House.
“This sadly posthumous book by Luiz Roberto Salinas Fortes belongs to the fascinating genre of writings that show human beings in search of themselves,” writes literary critic Antonio Candido in the preface. “As the author recounts his encounters with the police and the military repression, we witness the unraveling of his own nature. His excellent writing results in a book marked by the strong originality of those who do not seek to be original.”
The author recounts his two arrests on suspicion of participation in the struggle against the military dictatorship in the early 1970s, and transcribes pages of one of his diaries from the 1950s. Finally, he reports two other arrests in the mid-1970s for alleged involvement in drug trafficking. “Apparently casual, the disposition of matter is perfect as a narrative scheme because it presents situations that were arranged by external agents while allowing us to evaluate the inner life of the individual dragged into them, and whose integrity is tested by them,” continues Candido.
Philosopher Marilena Chaui, who knew Salinas Fortes and pens the introduction, also recalls other important episodes of his life. “How many times have I seen Salinas squeeze his temples – the last gesture he performed before he died – as if he was trying to understand an unnamed pain, even though I did not know that the pain was caused by the beating of his own head against the prison bars”, she writes. “How many times have I heard Salinas stumble upon a sentence, try to grab the words, or witnessed him lose the train of thought, and his voice not being able to reach my ears, or saw him try to reach for my eyes with a glance that was a mix of amazement and agony, which made me feel that the web of torture held back his voice (…) Silent portrait is the reclaiming of the word by Salinas as a teacher, a journalist and a philosopher”.
About the author
Luiz Roberto Salinas Fortes graduated in Philosophy from the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Languages (FFCL), later the Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of the University of São Paulo (USP). Also at USP, he defended a doctoral dissertation titled Rousseau – from theory to practice and was granted an Associate Professor title with The Spectacle Paradox, a thesis in which he continues his studies on the political work of the Swiss philosopher
Title: Silent portrait
Author: Luiz Roberto Salinas Fortes
Number of pages: 127
Format: 14 x 21 cm